One day in Hostel & Garten Eden in Leipzig, Germany
Dear WHERE ABOUT NOW,
lately you asked us if we could share some personal thoughts about our work and everyday life in our Art-Hostel Eden. So here I am, writing you these lines about one special day in October. Take it as a diary entry.
It is almost 9am in the morning. It is a Friday. A full weekend lies ahead of us. Outside it’s grey and muddy. Even the lovely garden with its last batch of blooming summer flowers looks a bit dull. An independent gallery weekend – LindeNOW – is set to open today. It is supposed to be an assortment of small galleries and art studios in our area, Lindenau, showcasing works by various artists. The little wooden hut in our garden, the Kabakon, will also open its doors for an exhibition tonight. An artist collective will present the “GorbatSHOW”. I have no idea what it is all about, besides drinking Vodka, but I'm excited to find out. Over the course of the last few days the artists have been carrying wrapped and bizarre looking packages into the hut, tinkering with them and ordering enormous amounts of lattes from our Hostel bar.
The Hostel is well booked but not full. The morning goes by quickly with the usual routine - small talk with guests, email correspondence, checkouts and serving coffees. Over the course of two and a half years since our opening, we have become a good team. We, that is Eva, Thea, Gabriela and me, Jule - friends who started a hostel in Leipzig. The hostel building was an unused old block with no residents. The garden was full of scrubs and the building was in tatters. We took care of most of the renovation and construction work of the hostel ourselves, along with the help of friends and local artists. The first two years were challenging and enormously instructive, yet extremely fulfilling.
The phone rings. A band, friends of the neighborhood artist collective, are calling. The venue which was supposed to host their gig has pulled out last minute. Now they are wondering if the concert could be shifted to our place. We agree - Yeah, sure! It would be nice. But on one condition: We would prefer it to be indoors and wrapped up by 10pm, as we don’t want to trouble our neighbors too much. Everyone agrees. The show is ON.
Ah, another order. Two more coffees for the artists. Oh dear, hopefully enough people will show up for the show tonight. I better do another Facebook post.
It’s almost noon. The checkouts are done and the cleaning is about to start. I have to get started with removing the bed sheets and fetch the dirty ones, as the laundry will arrive soon with clean linen. Thank God Eva, who takes care of the second shift, will arrive any minute to help. We will have a long day running the bar for the concert and vernissage tonight. Poor Eva - it’s also her birthday tomorrow. Is Thea keeping in mind to bring the flowers?
Pow! The rooms are ready. Let’s have lunch and coffee. A short break before the guests will arrive.
The first check-ins have started. A blogger who wants to write about our hostel is also scheduled to arrive today. She is getting the “Cat-room”. Hopefully she likes it. Well, she has a vegan travel blog… so she should like animals, I guess!
The afternoon turns out to go smoothly. Guests are arriving and everyone seems pleased with their rooms. Until they arrive, most of our guests don’t know that each room is different and that they are all designed by different local artists. So, it’s often a surprise for them when they enter their room.
The band has arrived and they have started to set up their equipment. They are going to start their show at 7pm. Let’s see how many people will show up. There are a lot of parallel events happening tonight for LindeNOW.
By 7pm our common area is beginning to fill up and more and more people keep pouring in. Outside it’s already dark and bright neon light is shining out of the Kabakon-Art House.
By now the two other girls, Thea and Gabriela, have arrived to help with the bar. I'm taking the opportunity to have a look at the GorbatSHOW myself. In the Kabakon I find replicas of different famous art works - like Nana from Niki de Saint Phalle, a Giacometti sculpture and the “Black Square” by Malevich. One of the artists hands me a little glass and encourages me to "communicate" with the objects. So I start talking nicely to the Nana and immediately Vodka starts to pour out of her breasts. The same happens when I approach the other objects. Three shots later, my smile has widened and I return to the bar. But an even bigger smile is sported by Manuel Frolik (www.manuelfrolik.de), the creator of the Kabakon hut and the curator of the exhibition. He is positively surprised by the number of people who showed up and are continuing to arrive.
Our hostel guests have mingled with the crowd and everyone seems to be having a good time. It's almost midnight and fortunately a friend has overtaken the bar duties. Me and the other hostel girls gather in the garden. The countdown starts... 3,2,1... Happy Birthday, Eva! Cake, confetti and Prosecco follow.
It’s been a good day. An unexpected concert at our place, joyful atmosphere and loads of happy guests. Now it’s time to close the bar. It’s a shortly after half past 12. We’ve ran out of beer anyway. Time to visit our neighbors who are having a party tonight and bring this long day to an end. Das Hostel & Garten Eden Leipzig